Association for Behavior Analysis International

The Association for Behavior Analysis International® (ABAI) is a nonprofit membership organization with the mission to contribute to the well-being of society by developing, enhancing, and supporting the growth and vitality of the science of behavior analysis through research, education, and practice.


40th Annual Convention; Chicago, IL; 2014

Workshop Details

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Workshop #W12
CE Offered: PSY/BACB
Programming for Pragmatics: Bringing Assessment to Practice for High Functioning Learners on the Autism Spectrum
Friday, May 23, 2014
8:00 AM–3:00 PM
W175b (McCormick Place Convention Center)
Area: AUT; Domain: Service Delivery
CE Instructor: Alexia Stack, M.Ed.
ALEXIA STACK (A Block Above Behavioral Consulting), MAGDALENA A. MARKIEWICZ (A Block Above Behavioral Consulting)
Description: It is well known that individuals with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) experience qualitative impairments in social skills development (DSM-V, 2013), including impairments in pragmatic language skills. Moreover, the long term consequences of pragmatic language deficits place individuals with ASD at risk for relational bullying, limit their ability to develop and maintain friendships and romantic relationships, and increase their likelihood of suffering from anxiety and depression. Support for the assessment and development of pragmatic language skills is crucial for individuals with high functioning autism. There is an increase in evidence based practice within the fields of applied behavior analysis, speech and language pathology, and developmental psychology for pragmatic language assessment and programming. Therefore, early intervention addressing pragmatic language skills is necessary for individuals with ASD. Learning to use assessment tools to select goals for intervention, designing programs based on assessment results, and doing ongoing data analysis to monitor learning are all skills required by behavior analysts in delivering services to high functioning learners on the autism spectrum.
Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of this workshop, the participant will be able to (1) define pragmatic language skills, (2) discuss higher order pragmatic language skills that are known to be challenging for learners on the Autism Spectrum, (3) the assessment tools that can be used to guide program development, (4) use assessment tools to identify missing component skills needed for higher order pragmatics, (5) design programs based on assessment results, (6) clearly define target behaviors and effective measurement procedures, and (7) identify common error patterns that emerge, and how to problem solve.
Activities: Workshop objectives will be met through a combination of lecture, group discussion, data analysis, video analysis, analysis of sample assessment data, small group practice, program development coaching, and application of data-based decision making. Participants will receive supplemental materials to follow lecture material and for note taking purposes. Example assessment data will be made available for small group practice. Sample worksheets and sample data will be included for small group learning objectives.
Audience: BACB certificants and licensed psychologists, behavior analysts, and service delivery staff.
Content Area: Practice
Instruction Level: Intermediate
Keyword(s): Pragmatic language



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